Any time we have a new client at Real Estate Connections, the landlord in San Jose often has an idea of who the best tenant is. Santa Clara County is a major dot-com area, and we have a lot of tech companies employing people here. So, most landlords are hoping for a single person to rent the property, who travels about 90 percent of the time and is never home. This might seem like an ideal tenant, but that is probably not who you are going to end up renting to. Chances are, your tenants will be a family or someone who actually does spend quite a bit of time in the house. We always recommend that landlords start the screening process at the very beginning.

1. Pay attention to the initial contact. Even that first phone call with a prospective tenant can give you clues on whether or not you would want to rent your home to this person. Notice how that person talks to you and how they handle themselves. Are they professional? Ask relevant questions while you have him or her on the phone. Ask why they are moving. You do not want to rent to someone who might be leaving a current property due to landlord disputes. Make sure you don’t ask discriminating questions. You cannot ask how many kids they have, how many people would be living in the property, or anything that might sound discriminatory. There are laws in place to prevent this, and you must be careful.

2. Establish minimum requirements. Your rental application should explain what is required so tenants know what they must do in order to get approved for your property. One of our requirements at Real Estate Connections is that a household income is at least three times the monthly rent. You can also establish credit minimums and other requirements that are in place before an application is even considered. This will help tenants know if they have a shot.

3. Do not rent to the first person who inquires. Make sure you complete your due diligence and qualify the tenants. Check references, run a credit report, do a background and criminal check. Make sure you verify income by asking for pay stubs. Don’t trust anything that the tenant tries to give you because documents can always be created and changed. Do your own credit check and call the references yourself.

4. Ensure your home is a good one. If you want a great tenant, have a great home. This is the best way to find an excellent tenant who will rent from you in the long term.

Finding tenants can be complex. If you have any other questions on how to go about, please contact us or give us a call at (408) 873-2100. We have over 50 years of experience at Real Estate Connections, and we’d be happy to help you.